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n. a tree, Ginkgo biloba, that is indigenous to Asia but now cultivated widely. An extract of the leaves has been used for centuries by Chinese herbalists and is reputed to possess medicinal and psychotropic properties. It is also a popular dietary supplement primarily used to improve mental acuity, although clinical evidence supporting this effect is largely lacking. The active compounds in ginkgo extract have anticoagulant properties, and ginkgo has been investigated as a treatment for vascular disorders, both peripheral and cerebral (e.g., vascular dementia), the latter with equivocal results. Gingko may also have neuroprotective properties, but studies have not shown beneficial effects relative to placebo in preventing neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Side effects of ginkgo use are rare and may include headaches or mild gastrointestinal disturbances. However, data suggest that continual long-term use of ginkgo may be associated with excessive bleeding or spontaneous hemorrhage. Additionally, there are several known and potential interactions of ginkgo with other agents, including anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and NSAIDs. Ginkgo may also lower seizure thresholds and should not be used by people who have a history of seizures.

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May 26th 2024